It's fiscal year end. Just don't forget to marvel at your surroundings.
Because it's better than whitewashing.
Quick, here’s an assignment: Read the 1st chapter of Kenneth Grahame’s masterpiece, The Wind in the Willows. Just the 1st chapter. Marvel at his exquisite wordsmithing, the way it animates the life of a tiny mole whitewashing his subterranean hut as his acute spring fever sets in (with a side order of divine discontent and longing, of course.)
And then there are the friends we meet. First, a water rat, himself a “joyous oarsman”, incredulous at the sheltered life of his newfound mole buddy. So incredulous that he takes the mole out for a three-hour boat tour and treats the little guy to a charcuterie and beef tongue-filled lunch hour blowout. And there’s the ornery badger. Some grouchy rabbits. A Toad and an Otter. Phrases like “Onion Sauce”, “simply messing about in boats”, and on and on.
It’s just so beautiful.
Every April I think about The Wind in the Willows because it’s against this backdrop that we fundraisers find ourselves each spring. We spend the winter couped up, fighting traffic, weather, and airport delays, only to emerge with more work than ever during a self-inflicted busy season that called “fiscal year-end” (or “FYE” for the acronym inclined).
And like that mole we scrape and scratch and scrabble and scrooge to count every last pledge, pledge payment, engagement effort, event, registration, and volunteer meeting up until (and sometimes beyond) June 30, after which we emerge like the mole into his great meadow - and POP! - it’s all over, we hit the reset button, and do it all over again.
But it’s a shame that we do our work this way, because there’s so much to marvel at in the springtime, and only a finite number of these rebirths to enjoy in our lifetimes. The mole gets it. He’s sick of whitewashing, of being jammed into his home all winter long, and the springtime air above is just, well, calling.
It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said "Bother!" and "O blow!" and also "Hang spring cleaning!" and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat.
But there are ways to regain some perspective even if you can’t toss your laptop out the window and go for a lazy afternoon boat ride with your new water rat BFF.
Take a break from your year-end duties and go for a walk.
Book a long weekend away - preferably someplace verdant and lush.
Or even just set your out-of-office message for a few hours - and actually not answer your emails.
Because after all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.
Preach on, mole. Preach on.